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Skiing Vacation Slovenia, Italy & Austria: Cross-Country Skiing the Alps​

Activity Level: Easy / Moderate  |  Daily Mileage: 6 – 16 mi  |  Daily Skiing: 2 – 4 hr
Pre-trip Extension:
Venice · 2 nights $245

Post-trip Extension:
Salzburg · 2 nights $245  
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Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 - Depart U.S. / Fly overnight to Venice

Depart from the U.S. and travel to Italy. The particulars of your arrival overseas are detailed with your flight itinerary and airline tickets.

Day 2 - Arrive in Venice

You arrive at the airport in Venice, Italy. Once in the arrival terminal, please locate the water taxi and Information desk. The staff of ‘Venezia Taxi' – one of the 3 operators there – will assist you, provide you with a voucher and show you to your water taxi. From the airport pier, you'll transfer (approximately 35 minutes) to your centrally located Venice hotel. VBT provides you with City Information in your Final Travel Booklet that includes information and recommendations on what to see and do in Venice during your stay.

Please note: If you arrive early, your hotel room may not be available until 3:00 p.m. You may store your luggage with the reception desk.

Please note: VBT transfer times and departure points are finalized in advance and cannot be modified for individual guests. If you fly in earlier than the scheduled program dates, transportation from the airport will be at your own expense.

Day 3 - Meet Trip Leaders / Warm-up ski / Welcome reception

VBT Air Package and Pre-Extension guests: Meet your VBT representative at 8:30 a.m. in the main lobby of our Venice hotel; he or she will be holding a VBT sign. We will then transfer by water taxi to the airport. Plan to wear your ski clothes on the transfer or have them packed in a small day pack that will be easily accessible upon arrival in Kranjska Gora.

VBT No-Air Package guests: The land tour begins at 9:30 a.m. in Venice. The meeting point is the bar called CAFÉ' MARCO POLO DARSENA on the docks of VENICE AIRPORT (address: via Luigi Broglio 8, Marco Polo airport). Easy to find, the bar is very close to the water transport docks of the airport, where motor taxi's park. You will be met by our local representative, holding a VBT sign. From there you will transfer to Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, by private motorcoach with our Air Package guests.

If your arrival at the Marco Polo Darsena bar at 9:30 a.m. is delayed, please contact our hotel in Kranjska Gora, the Hotel Vitranc, to advise staff of the delay, and they will pass your message along to your VBT Trip Leaders. The number to call is: 011 386 4 5809-520.

VBT highly recommends flying to Italy at least one day before the tour begins. This allows you to rest and recover from jet lag before you begin sightseeing and skiing.

From the airport we will transfer by bus to the Ponca Ski Shop in Kranjska Gora, arriving at approximately 1:30 p.m. Enjoy lunch on your own en route. Plan to have your ski clothes or have them packed in a small day pack that will be easily accessible upon arrival at the Ponca Ski Shop.

Shortly after arriving at the ski shop, one VBT Trip Leader will hold a ski-fitting session, followed by a brief talk about the area trails and the afternoon schedule. Our other Trip Leader will travel with the bus and luggage to the Hotel Vitranc.

We then set off for the trails for our afternoon warm-up ski on the Kranjska Gora Ski Trails (elev. 2,667 feet/813 m). Beginner skiers may opt for a lesson, accompanied by a VBT Trip Leader or a ski instructor. Advanced skiers have the option of skiing on their own with trail recommendations from our Trip Leaders. Our options will lead to our first hotel, where all guests will arrive by late afternoon. Our luggage will be waiting for us in our rooms.

The Hotel Vitranc is situated in the quiet hamlet of Podkoren, just outside Kranjska Gora. Upon arrival, take some time to settle in and relax, or enjoy the sauna or a stroll before we gather for a welcome reception and dinner.

The hotel has a long tradition of hospitality. Vitranc was the name of the beloved stallion of the first owners. The house maintains the simplicity and charm of a family-run mountain guesthouse, where travelers immediately feel at home. The Pajzl area, or pub, has a separate entrance and is still the preferred place for the locals to stop for a chat and beer after dinner.

Day 4 - Morning ski in Valbruna / Lunch and exploration in Tarvisio / Dog sledding and skiing

After a hearty breakfast, we meet to review the day's events and logistics. Then, we'll transfer from our hotel and cross the border to Valbruna for a morning ski in Italy.

Valbruna is a picturesque village nestled deep in the Canal Valley surrounded by the jagged peaks of the Julian Alps, which  rise more than 4,000 feet from the valley floor. We set off on the trails from the Saisera Huette, which was built for the Valbruna Inn by an expert local carpenter, who worked by hand on one hundred-year-old beams to assemble the entire hut by overlapping the boards in the traditional local style.

Ski the trails through peaceful woods, alongside small streams and vast snow-covered mountains, and enjoy a trailside snack or a cappuccino on your own, stopping perhaps at the Agriturismo Prati Oitzinger to take in stunning views of Mount Lussari. You might opt to recharge at the Bar Trattoria Jof di Montasio. Each option offers typical local dishes of Friuli cuisine. Return to the Saisera Huette after your ski for a bite to eat and to relax.

After lunch, we make our way towards the International Dog Sledding School run by Ararad Khatchikian, a renowned Iditarod racer. Here, we'll learn how this important means of alpine transport became a sport before enjoying a dog sled ride, mushing the dogs ourselves! When it's not your turn to ride you can ski the trails here or relax in Ararad's house. In the afternoon we return to our hotel, by way of your skis or by taxi. The rest of the day is free.

In the evening, we will provide a shuttle option for you to go into Kranjska Gora for an evening meal or drink.

Day 5 - Ski to Planica Ski Jump / Cooking class and storytelling

Today is a full day, beginning with our morning ski to the Planica Ski Jump – the world's largest ski flying hill. Continue skiing up the valley to the iconic Tamar Hut or take your time skiing the flat valley below. At the Olympic Center, we enjoy a snack and video, as well as the opportunity to meet 1961 Ski Jump World Record jumper, Joze Slibar. Feel free to ski or shuttle back to the hotel after our Olympic Center visit. Stop at the Pehte Trailside Restaurant or another restaurant in town for lunch on your own.

Later this afternoon we gather for a cooking class with Chef Ales, who teaches us how to make struklji, a popular rolled dough pastry that can be savory or sweet. As we knead and roll we will be entertained by local storytellers, who share the legend of Kekec, a folk hero from a children's story.

Tonight for dinner we shuttle to Pri Martinu, a traditional family run alpine gostilna, inn. The friendly staff dresses in period costume, and the menu is based on hearty alpine specialties from local farms. Not to worry about the hefty portions – after dinner we'll walk around town and perhaps cap off the night with some après ski drinks at a local bar.

Day 6 - Ski in Ramsau / Short hike to dinner

After breakfast, you may take a morning walk or ski before a breathtaking two-hour drive through the Alps to the Austrian ski village of Ramsau (112 miles/178 km). We will stop en route for lunch on your own in Schladming, a small mining town in the Austrian state of Styria, and home of the 2013 Alpine World Ski Championships. After enjoying your lunch in one of the Old Town's cafes or restaurants, we will continue to a Ramsau ski shop (30 minutes) where our skis await.

Ramsau lies at the foot of Styria's highest mountain, the Dachstein, and is situated on a comparatively level piece of land. The plateau is an exceptional geological feature in the rugged terrain of the Alps and is ideal for cross-country skiing. The holiday resort extends over 10 miles in length and 2.5 miles in width, and takes the form of a shelf 3,600 feet above the Ennstal Valley. Several ski jumps were erected in the region in the 20th century, and the excellence of the Nordic venues of Ramsau am Dachstein was recognized by FIS when it awarded the region the 1999 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships.

After getting outfitted at the ski shop, we will ski gradually downhill for 2 1/2 miles (4 km) to the Hotel Almfrieden, our spectacularly-located lodging just off the trail. Choose your ideal pace for this afternoon, whether it is slow and steady on the flat valley trail or a vigorous jaunt to a breathtaking vista. Stop in the wellness center at the Hotel Almfrieden and relax after an afternoon on the trails.

In the evening, we will meet to walk together in the crisp night air up to the Gruberstube for dinner, perhaps borrowing lanterns from the Almfrieden to light our way. The hike is about a mile from the hotel, but the restaurant is well worth the journey. The Gruberstube offers traditional Austrian fare, including a variety of fondues and a large selection of excellent wines from the region and beyond. Return to the hotel afterwards for bed or a nightcap at the inviting bar.

Day 7 - Ski Ramsau / Visit the Lodenwalke factory

In the morning, we enjoy a leisurely ski out the front door of our hotel to the Ramsau trails. Stop for a snack or a warm drink at one of the many cafés along the way. Perhaps even enjoy a sunny terrace while drinking in the spectacular Mountain View and sipping cappuccino.

After lunch on your own, return to the hotel where we will catch the public bus to the Lodenwalke, a 550-year-old wool manufacturing factory 15 minutes from town. We will take a factory tour, which provides fascinating insight into the production of loden with explanations of the machines and the particular stages of production. After the tour you will have an opportunity to visit the showroom and shop for many high quality loden products, then relax and enjoy a beer in the factory's Styrian restaurant and bar.

Following our tour of the factory we will return by ski bus to the hotel, where the entire afternoon is open for more skiing, enjoying the spa and sauna or simply relaxing in the comfort of the hotel before dinner on your own at any one of Ramsau's mountain resorts. Your leaders will be happy to help you with dinner recommendations.

Day 8 - Explore Schladming / Farewell dinner

Today, we'll experience Austrian mountain life with a stroll through Schladming (30 minute bus transfer). Originally a small silver and copper mining town as far back as 1180, Schladming is now a renowned and popular meeting place for both cultural and sports enthusiasts. Its reputation as a world famous winter sports resort is based on many major events held at the Planai (Austria's largest ski area) with its legendary “FIS slope.” In 2013, Schladming hosted the Alpine World Ski Championships. The picturesque countryside surrounding the traditional town, along with the vibrant energy of the inhabitants and visitors makes Schladming a charming combination of nature, culture and outdoor activities.

There are many activities available in Schladming: check out the Farmer's Market which is open on Friday mornings; between November and January it becomes a traditional Christmas market with crafts, food, seasonal entertainment, and more. Enjoy lunch on your own at one of the town's many cafes. After lunch we will transfer back to the hotel to relax and change clothes.

This afternoon we return to Ramsau to enjoy its snowy beauty or perhaps take a walk with Rudi, our hotel's naturalist, and then relax before gathering in the hotel dining room for our farewell dinner of Austrian specialties.

Day 9 - Transfer to Salzburg / Free time in Salzburg / VBT No-Air package ends

VBT No-Air Package guests: your tour ends in Salzburg. Transfer time from Ramsau is about an hour and thirty minutes to the Hotel Goldener Hirsch in Salzburg, where the trip concludes. 
 
VBT Air Package guests: After breakfast, say goodbye to your Trip Leaders and transfer to Salzburg.

With extra time in Salzburg you will enjoy the rest of this day to discover the city independently. Visit the Mozarteum, a museum dedicated to Mozart's life, or several other artistic centers like the Carolino Augusteum or the Baroque Museum. See the Dom Cathedral or St. Peter's Abbey. Salzburg's historic Old town (Altstadt) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is easily walkable, with a number of outdoor cafés and restaurants. Our luxurious Salzburg hotel is located in the heart of the city, making it easy to explore.

Your senses will come alive here in the magnificent city whose landscapes were captured in the classic movie, The Sound of Music. The birthplace of Mozart, Salzburg has been a cultural center for centuries, offering a host of museums, concert venues, cathedrals and more to discover at your leisure.

Day 10 - Depart for U.S.

Early this morning*, transfer to the Salzburg Airport for your flight back to the U.S. VBT recommends that you check the transfer time in your “Transfer Reminder” the night before your flight. The transfer is prearranged and prepaid by VBT**.

*For guests with early-morning departures, breakfast at the hotel may not be available. Please check with the front desk to verify the times that breakfast is served.

**VBT transfer times and departure points are finalized in advance and cannot be modified for individual guests. If you extend your stay beyond the scheduled program dates, return transportation to the airport will be at your own expense.
 
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